Guide to importing for a small business


If you have ever considered importing goods into Australia or watched an episode of Border Security you would know that we have very strict Customs and Quarantine laws in this country and it’s easy to make a costly mistake.

While Australian Border Force has information readily available on their website – between prohibited goods, duty and GST, rules of origin and concessions – it’s easy to get lost in all the jargon and legalities of the process, and hefty penalties can occur for incorrect lodgement.

And it does not end there – wharf storage and container detention are two more potentially costly hurdles that can easily catch the inexperienced off guard.

We know how hard it is running a small business – engaging the help of a freight forwarder is something that will save you precious time and money, allowing you to focus on your business.

Generally, any shipment over 100kg is best handled by a commercial freight forwarder to ensure its handled correctly, and all the necessary steps are followed.

What is a freight forwarder you ask? Generally they are not the ones physically moving the cargo themselves, but instead they act as intermediaries, using their established relationships with service providers and their in-depth knowledge to find the most reliable, efficient and economical way to get your cargo from A to B whilst ensuring it meets all the necessary Customs and Quarantine requirements.

Not all freight forwarders are the same, and with so many out there it is hard to pick the right one.

SILA Global is an Australian Trusted Trader – meaning we have completed necessary requirements set by Australian Border Force which give us basically a “tick of approval”. Shipments moved with us are given priority treatment at the border – faster customs processing and fewer interventions.

Once you source the goods and the supplier, a freight forwarder can assist with the next steps including:

  • Terms of the sale (known as incoterms) to establish how much responsibility you will have for your cargo, and who is responsible for what costs along the way
  • Negotiating freight rates
  • Booking your cargo onto a vessel or flight
  • Arranging insurance for your cargo
  • Origin packing & transport & clearance
  • Arrange and handle the necessary documentation
  • Destination customs clearance
  • Delivery and unpack of goods at destination
  • Can arrange for warehousing/storage if required.

One of the best things that a freight forwarder has access to is a network of service providers and agents that help them source the most competitive prices and best service offerings for your cargo. It may seem basic but having a freight forwarder with an extensive network will ultimately save you money and time in the long run, leaving you with more time to focus on your business.

SILA Global prides itself on its collaborative approach to the supply chain, and we invest heavily into our network of service providers to give our customers the best possible shipping experience.

If you want to take the guess work and time out of your shipping – give us a call or email and we will be happy to assist!